“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.”MT 7:21
Jesus always did the will of his heavenly Father. He prayed: “Not my will but yours be done” (Lk 22:42). Like him, we too want to live the will of our Father every moment of our life. So we do not resign ourselves to the will of God. Instead, we really want to do God`s will. By doing the will of God each moment we express our love for God and keep God in the first place of our life. This is the way to holiness that is open to everyone: young and old, gifted and less gifted, intellectuals and labourers, lay people, religious and clergy, government officials and ordinary citizens. It is our way of living the Our Father: “Thy will be done.”
The more each of us lives the will of God in the present moment, the closer we are to one another. And Mary can be our role model in living the will of God: her whole life was a constant “yes” to God.
“I came down from heaven not to do my will but the will of the one who sent me”JN 6:38
“My food is to do the will of the one who sent me…”JN 4:34
A Key Experience
Loving God by doing God`s will
Once we opened a copy of the Gospels and found the words: “Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Mt 7:21) and “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me” (Jn 14:21). Then we understood. If we wanted to have God as our “ideal” then we had to do his will, because loving God is not so much a matter of feelings as it is an act of the will. Therefore, we sought to do his divine will as it was manifested to us by circumstances, by our respective duties, by those in authority and by the inspirations of the moment. Never straying from God`s will was a way of telling him concretely that we loved him.
God’s will is like the sun whose rays are like his will for each one of us. Each one of us walks along a ray, distinct from the ray of the person next to us, but always along a ray of the sun, that is, the will of God.
The closer the rays get to the sun, the closer they get to each other. For us too, the closer we come to God, by carrying out the divine will, more and more the closer we draw to each other … until we are all one.
“Pray without ceasing” (1Th 5:17)
How can we “pray without ceasing,” especially when we are in the whirlpool of daily life?
To “pray without ceasing” does not mean multiply our prayers. Rather, it means directing our hearts and lives toward God, living out God’s will for us, whether it be studying, working, suffering, resting or even dying for God. We will reach the point where we will no longer be able to live our daily lives without doing everything in agreement with God. In this way our actions will be transformed into sacred actions, and the whole day will become prayer. It may be helpful to offer to God everything we do by saying, “For you, Jesus”, and in moments of difficulties we can say: “What really matters? Loving you is what matters.” In this way each thing we do is transformed into an act of love. And our prayer will be unceasing because love will be unceasing.
We can only love God in the present moment. Let us love, therefore, by giving that smile, by doing that job, by driving that car, by cooking that meal, by organizing that activity for someone in need.
God`s will is what binds us together as one family with Jesus our brother and God our Father. (see Mk 3:31-35)
- What might be ordinary situations of living the will of God in the present moment?
- How is the will of God connected to God`s personal love for us?
- What is your understanding of God`s plan of love for you?
- How does the will of God bring us closer to one another?
- Do we have a Gospel experience of being flexible in living an unexpected will of God?
- Do you show your love for God by doing the will of God in your daily activities?
- What are the challenges that might arise in doing the will of God from morning to night?
- Daily examination of conscience: Did I do the will of God today?
Time to sleep
It was getting late, and I was reading a book. It was a very interesting part of the book, and I realized it was time to sleep. I wanted to continue reading, but I knew I had to do the will of God in every moment (“Not my will, but your will be done.” Lk 22:42).
At that moment his will for me was to get enough hours of sleep so that the next day I would be bright and able to live his will properly. I went straight to bed without reading another word.
From my ray to your ray
When I started teaching in an inner high school, I quickly realized that many students did not share my love of learning and my passion for reading. Classroom discipline became a must if I was to reach these kids. Learning could only happen when student and teacher each did their jobs! It truly was “my way or the highway” to anyone who did not meet the mark in class. But I soon burned out trying to enforce my way.
Then I discovered the spirituality of communion. People spoke about the importance of “following your ray to the sun,” explaining that the Lord loves us so much that he allows each of us our unique way to him. And I realized that I had to follow my ray, which means to love my students instead of forcing them to meet my expectations.
This image enabled me to discover that my students had different “rays”- which often included working through really horrendous family situations. It helped me to love these students as they were, and they responded by working really hard. They know when you love them.
Jim Smith, New Jersey
What can I do?
Try to put into practice what you have learned today. Then at the beginning of the next group meeting, share your Gospel`s experiences with the others – one or two episodes when you were able to understand and do the will of God – as a gift.